Present Over Perfection.

Last fall I read a book by Shauna Niequist called, “Present Over Perfect.”  It was the perfect timing because one month before Christmas we received an emergency, same day placement of two babies – a one year old and a two year old.  The concepts of that book quickly sprang to life as I was forced to let go of perfectionism. 

As we near the holidays again I wanted to share some of what I learned from this book, because it’s not only applicable to the holiday season but also to those in the throes of wedding planning.

I get so caught up in perfectionism.

The perfect tree.

The perfectly wrapped presents in matching paper.
The perfect family day.

The perfectly behaved children.


I want it all.  I want the food to taste amazing.  The kids to not fight.  The family to have no drama.


I set these high expectations. 


But what my family needs is for me to present.

To delight in them.

To spend time with them.

To be present.


Why am I seeking perfection when what they need most from me is presence?

So, what if I use the leftover napkins from last year instead of buying new ones.

So, what if I don’t have enough matching silverware and we use mismatched?

Will Christmas continue? Will anyone notice?


Those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.


This year I chose present.

I chose to be organized and prepared so that I wasn’t stressed.



I hosted dinner for my entire extended family on Saturday.  And I raise my voice at my children once.  I chose to include them in the preparations, to pace out the day and to enjoy the season.  To look at Christmas through their eyes, remove some of my expectations and delight in being fully present.  To be organized and to let some things slide.


Why am I telling you this?

Because I truly believe it’s a choice.  One that each one of us can choose.

Are we striving for perfection or are we choosing to be present?


This holiday season, choose to be present.  Choose to not care if the floor is a bit dirty or if the kids are a bit cranky.  Choose to spend time with people, not just money on them.


It’s the same with wedding planning.  There are tons of things you can stress out about.

Are the napkins the same exact shade as the bridesmaids’ gowns? 

Will the ring bearer make it down the aisle?

Will everything come together perfectly?


I'm not saying don't enjoy the small things.  I'm not saying don't care about wedding planning.


Just don't let those small things pull you away from what matters most: the people around you.

Let go of some of the desire for perfection and celebrate the start of your new life together.  Write the beginning of that chapter as present instead of perfection.


May Real Bride | Jordan and Daniel's Wedding

We have loved sharing Jordan and Daniel's story throughout the month, from the proposal to Jordan finding her dream dress here at Once Upon A Time Weddings and today we are talking about their wedding day! These two got married on November 26, 2016 with their little man by their side. 

What's your favourite memory from your wedding day? 

"Most definitely seeing Dan see me for the first time that day, he was so overcome with emotion. Our vows brought us both to tears. Sharing this special day with so many that we've shared in their weddings, was a truly special day!"

Who were your favourite vendors from your wedding day?

"Our photographers, C& T Photography and Corey Leckie of Frameworks Media who captured our ceremony so beautifully."

Any other unique details or stories about your wedding/love story you want to tell us?

"We welcomed our son, John in July 2016, before we got married. Having a family was always the bigger plan, neither of us ever expected to make one day all about our love. After two agonizing years of waiting, we were so happy to share the news of an arrival with our family and friends. His arrival was so anticipated that a wedding just topped an amazing year for us all!"

Photography: C&T Photography

Dress: Once Upon A Time Weddings 

If you are still searching for your dream dress, come book your experience with us today, we can't wait to meet you!

On Adoption.

Adoption.  It’s all about adoption and yet it’s not.  That sentence rings true for our life.  Today, on the blog I’m going to share a little bit about our journey to adoption and some of the things we have learned along the way.  In honour of National Adoption Month, I thought I would share with you a little bit about our adoption journey.   People often make assumptions surrounding adoption, and I thought I would take this opportunity to clear up some of those assumptions.


My husband Joel and I adopted Ethan and Arianna on December 12th, 2014.  However, our story starts long before that.  Ethan and Arianna moved into our house on May 4th, 2013.  We started the paperwork and process for them to move into our house in September of 2012.  Lesson #1: Nothing moves fast in the world of social workers, adoptions or child welfare.


Ethan and Arianna are my biological second cousin’s children.  Which I guess makes them my third cousins?!  They were removed from their biological family for very good reasons, which is kind of their story to tell.  Lesson #2: Don’t ask a lot of personal questions in front of them.  They are aware their biological family couldn’t take care of and that they are adopted.


We didn’t choose adoption because it was our only option, we chose adoption because it’s something we’re both super passionate about and something we felt compelled to do.  People choose adoption as a way to start their family for many different reasons.  Lesson #3: Don’t assume that all families who adopt do so because it’s their last resort to start a family.


Adoption is messy.  It impacts a lot of areas of our lives, whether we like it or not.  We have to constantly be thinking and talking about it.  And that’s okay.  Our kids do things slightly different or have different emotions because of their history.  Because we don’t have any biological children sometimes it’s hard to know if they are acting the way they are because they are adopted or because they are children.  Sometimes it feels like it’s all about adoption and sometimes it’s not.  That’s okay.  Lesson #4: No adoption is the same.  Just like no children are the same.  Parents of adopted children don’t always need to hear a story about how your friend who adopted and their child turned out horrible.  Just like we don’t tell you that our friends had a vaginal birth child and they turned out horrible.


Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Adoption is beautiful.  I remember the first time I thought of how I would dance with Ethan at his wedding or how I would help Arianna pick out her wedding gown.  I remember the first time it hit me that I was a mother and they were mine.  Maybe parents who birth a child have a similar experience.  Maybe not.  But I remember feeling like a mom for the first time.  Lesson #5: Not everyone feels the same about situations.  That does make one person right or wrong.  It just means we’re all human and all feel things differently. 


Our adoption process was long, exhausting and extremely frustrating.  We just wanted to be a family and be done with the paperwork, visits, ongoing court chaos.  But at the end of the day we’re so glad we stuck it out and that we are now officially a family.  And yes I would do it all over again.  Our system is very broken but it’s the one we have to work with.  Lesson #6: If you want to adopt, be prepared for frustrations, paperwork until you feel like nothing is private and lots of frustrations.  Hang in there!  Joy and beauty are coming, I promise you.  Adoption through Children’s Aid is free unlike international or private adoption.  It’s just a lot of time and energy.


My kids mean the world to me.  I can’t imagine life without them.  I love them whole heartedly.  I am excited to continue watching them grow and watching their personalities develop more and more.  I truly believe they are the resilient and brave people I know.  They have overcome so much in their little lives and parenting them truly is my greatest blessing.

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Happy Thanksgiving.

This year we have so much to be thankful for.  I'm so blessed to have a wonderful husband & two beautiful kids.  I am also blessed to have 3 awesome sisters and four nephews and my parents who all live so close and love our little family so dearly.  

Whatever you are doing this weekend, take a minute to be thankful for all that you have and hold those loved ones close.

From our family to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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